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                                        Thursday, April 14 — 7:30 p.m.
                                        Riverside Recital Hall

                                        Daniel Ching, violin
                                        Noah Bendix-Balgley, violin
                                        John Largess, viola
                                        Joshua Gindele, cello

Iowa Center for the Arts
The University of Iowa

COVER DESIGNER: Sally H. Chai is a writer, designer, and artist in Iowa City. Her support of The Nature Conservancy and reflects
her love of nature and avid interest in environmental issues. Sally is currently a candidate for a BFA with Honors in graphic design from
the University of Iowa. She also holds graduate degrees in linguistics and educational psychology from Southern Illinois University.
This is one of fifteen cover designs by University of Iowa student designers for the 2010-11 Hancher playbills.

    Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 33, No. 2, “The Joke”   Haydn
      Allegro moderato, cantabile                        (1732-1809)
      Scherzo: Allegro
      Largo sustenuto
      Finale: Presto

    Quartet for Strings, Op. 11                          Barber
      Molto allegro e appassionato                       (1910-1981)
      Molto adagio — Molto allegro

    Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 130/133                 Beethoven
      Adagio ma non troppo; Allegro                      (1770-1827)
      Andante con moto, ma non troppo
      Alla danza tedesca: Allegro assai
      Cavatina: Adagio molto expressivo
      Grosse Fuge: Allegro

                      ABOUT THE ARTISTS

          Hailed by the New York Times as possessing “explosive vigor and
          technical finesse,” the dynamic Miró Quartet, one of America’s highest-
          profile chamber groups enjoys its place at the top of the international
          chamber music scene. Now in its second decade, the quartet continues
          to captivate audiences and critics around the world with its startling
          intensity, fresh perspective, and mature approach.

          Founded in 1995 at the Oberlin Conservatory, the Miró Quartet met
          with immediate success winning first prize at the 50th annual Coleman
          Chamber Music Competition in April 1996, and taking both the first and
          grand prizes at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition two
          months later. Earning both the First Prize and the Piéce de Concert Prize
          at the 1998 Banff International String Quartet Competition, the Miró
          Quartet also won the prestigious Naumburg Chamber Music Award in
          2000. In 2005, the Quartet was the first ensemble ever to be awarded the
          coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant. They received the Cleveland Quartet
          Award that year as well.

          Recent Miró Quartet seasons have included concerts in some of
          the world’s most important concert venues, such as Amsterdam’s
          Concertgebouw, the Berlin Philharmonic’s Kammermusiksaal, the
          Konzerthaus in Vienna, Italy’s Festival Internazionale Quartetto d’Archi
          Reggio Emilia, the Dresden Music Festival, London’s Wigmore Hall, and
          the Palacio Real de Madrid. The Miró Quartet has been Quartet-in-
          Residence at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Two in New
          York City, and was named to the Distinctive Debut Series of Carnegie Hall,
          which in conjunction with ECHO (European Concert Hall Organization)
          provided debut appearances in Cologne, Stockholm, Brussels, London,
          Vienna, Amsterdam, and Athens. In recent seasons, the ensemble has
          collaborated with such artists as Leif Ove Andsnes, Joshua Bell, Eliot
          Fisk, Lynn Harrell, Midori, Jon Kimura Parker, and Pinchas Zukerman. The
          Miró Quartet is also a favorite of numerous summer festivals having
                                                                    (continued on page 6)

    appeared regularly at Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Sunflower
    Music Festival, and the White Pine Festival. In the summer of 2010, the Miró Quartet performed at Music@
    Menlo, San Miguel de Allende Chamber Music Festival, and the Banff Centre among others.

    Highlights of the Miró Quartet’s 2009-2010 season included a critically acclaimed return performance at
    the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center as well as performances in Montreal, Philadelphia, Washington
    D.C., and Tucson among many others. The season also brought successful tours of Germany and Japan as
    well as return to the St. Barths Music Festival in the French West Indies. The Quartet also collaborated with
    acclaimed theater director Katie Mitchell and actor Stephen Dillane in the Donmar Warehouse’s production
    of T.S. Elliot’s Four Quartets presented by Great Performers at Lincoln Center.

    The Quartet has been heard on numerous national radio broadcasts, including American Public Media’s
    Performance Today and Minnesota Public Radio’s Saint Paul Sunday. Internationally, it has been featured
    on radio networks across Europe, Canada, and Israel. The Quartet has also been seen on ABC’s “World News
    Tonight,” A&E’s “Breakfast with the Arts,” and on various programs of the Canadian Broadcasting Company.
    At the invitation of Isaac Stern, the Quartet performed in a live broadcast at the Jerusalem Music Center in
    Israel and was featured in the PBS-TV “American Masters” documentary: “Isaac Stern: Life’s Virtuoso.”

    In addition to a mastery of the standard repertoire, the Quartet maintains a fierce devotion to
    contemporary music. The Miró Quartet has commissioned and performed music by such composers as
    Brent Michael Davids, Leonardo Balada, Kevin Puts, Jack Perla, Chan Ka Nin, Dominic Maican, David Schober,
    and Gunther Schuller.

    The Miró Quartet serves as the Faculty String Quartet-in-Residence at the Sarah and Ernest Butler School
    of Music at the University of Texas at Austin. Its members — violinists Daniel Ching and Sandy Yamamoto,
    violist John Largess, and cellist Joshua Gindele — teach private students and coach chamber music there,
    while maintaining an active international touring schedule. With the Miró on campus, the Butler School
    of Music at the University of Texas at Austin is one of only a small group of universities whose faculties
    include a world-class string quartet. Deeply committed to fostering the next generation of musicians, the
    quartet was on faculty at the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music at Kent State University before their current
    position in Austin. On short notice, the Quartet filled in for both Isaac Stern and Henry Meyer, leading
    master classes in Lucerne, Switzerland, and Jeunesses Musicales Deutschland. In the summers, the Miró
    Quartet has taught and performed at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Lake Tahoe Music Festival, and
    the Kent/Blossom Music Festival. The Quartet gives frequent master classes at many institutions around
    the world.

    The Miró Quartet has released several recordings, most recently a disc featuring live performances of
    works by Dvorak and Kevin Puts. Other releases include the Op. 18 quartets of Beethoven on the Vanguard
    Classics label as well as a disc featuring music by George Crumb and Rued Langgaard for Bridge Records.
    The Miró Quartet’s recording of Crumb’s Black Angels received much international acclaim, including the
    French “Diapason d’Or”. The Miró Quartet is also featured on an Oxingale release entitled “Epilogue,”
    performing Mendelssohn’s final string quartet (Op. 80) and Schubert’s Quintet with celebrated cellist Matt

    The Miró Quartet is named for the Spanish artist Joan Miró, whose surrealist works — with subject matter
    drawn from the realm of memory and imaginative fantasy — are some of the most original of the 20th
    century. Additional information about the Quartet may be found at www.
          Daniel Ching, violin
                   Daniel Ching, a founding member of the Miró Quartet, began his violin
          studies at the age of 3 under tutelage of his father. At age 5, he entered the San
          Francisco Conservatory Preparatory Division on a full twelve‐year scholarship,
          where he studied violin with Serban Rusu and Zaven Melikian, and chamber music
          with Susan Bates. At the age of 10, Daniel was first introduced to string quartets.
                   A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Daniel studied violin with
          Kathleen Winkler, Roland and Almita Vamos, and conducting with Robert Spano and
          Peter Jaffe. He completed his Masters degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music,
          where he studied with former Cleveland Quartet violinist Donald Weilerstein. He
          also studied recording engineering and production with Thomas Knab of Telarc, and
          subsequently engineered the Miró Quartet’s first promotional disc.
                   Daniel is on faculty at the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at
          Austin, where he teaches private violin students and coaches chamber music. He concurrently maintains
          an active international touring schedule as a member of the Miró Quartet.
                   Daniel is a discerning connoisseur of all things cinematic and electronic. Before he became a busy
          parent, Daniel was an avid skier and a dedicated reader of science fiction—he looks forward to returning
          to those passions, some day. In his free time, Daniel enjoys hosting happy hours with friends and lounging
          at home with his wife Sandy (also a member of the quartet), their two sons, and two cats.

Noah Bendix-Balgley, violin
                             Noah Bendix-Balgley has thrilled audiences around the world with his
                   violin performances. Laureate of the 2009 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels,
                   he also won 3rd prize and a special prize for creativity at the 2008 Long-Thibaud
                   International Competition in Paris. He was awarded 1st Prize and a special prize
                   for best Bach interpretation at the 14th International Violin Competition “Andrea
                   Postacchini” in Fermo, Italy.
                             Noah is a passionate and experienced chamber musician. In 2008, he was
                   invited to participate in Chamber Music Connects the World, a program of the
                   Kronberg Academy. In Kronberg, he worked and performed with Gidon Kremer, Yuri
                   Bashmet, Gary Hoffman and Lynn Harrell. Noah has performed chamber music with
                   artists such as Ana Chumachenco, Wen-Sinn Yang, Hariolf Schlichtig, Ingolf Turban
and Estzer Haffner.
         Noah earned his postgraduate Meisterklasse diploma for violin in 2008 from Hochschule für
Musik und Theater Munich, where he studied with Professor Christoph Poppen. In 2006, he received a
Bachelor of Music degree with highest distinction from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music,
where he was a student of Professor Mauricio Fuks and also a Wells Scholar.
         Born in Asheville, North Carolina in 1984, Noah began playing violin at age 4. At age 9, he
played for Lord Yehudi Menuhin in Switzerland. From 1995 to 1997, Noah studied violin with Anne
Crowden while attending The Crowden School in Berkeley, California.
         In his spare time, Noah plays klezmer music and composes. He has played with world-
renowned klezmer groups such as Brave Old World, and has taught klezmer violin at workshops in
Europe and in the United States.
                                                                                                           (continued on page 8)

    John Largess, viola

               Violist John Largess began his studies in Boston at age 12 in the public schools,
    studying with Michael Zaretsky of the Boston Symphony, and later as a student of Michael
    Tree at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. In 1995, he graduated from Yale
    University to join the Colorado String Quartet as interim violist with whom he toured the
    United States and Canada teaching and concertizing. The following year he was appointed
    principal violist of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina, a position he held
    until joining the Miró Quartet in 1997.
              Also an active speaker and writer about all things chamber‐musical, in 2004 Mr.
    Largess was invited to give a week‐long audience lecture series as a part of the Eighth International
    String Quartet Competition at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada; he repeated this series in
    2007, and will do so again in 2010.
              With his training in Greek and Latin Literature and his Bachelor’s degree in Archeology from
    Yale University, as well as studies at the Hebrew University in Israel, he has participated in excavations
    in Greece, Israel, and Jordan. John loves to cook gourmet cuisine, particularly French pastry and fine
    desserts; luckily, he also enjoys exercising. John is a trained yoga instructor, having studied Vinyasa
    Power Yoga with Baron Baptiste. He also practices Kundalini, Bikram, and Astanga styles, and teaches
    yoga at 24 Hour Fitness and the Bodhi Yoga studio in Austin, Texas where he lives. When not standing on
    his head, he enjoys making his Tibetan Singing Bowl sing.
              John serves as Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of String Chamber Music at the University of
    Texas at Austin School of Music.

    Joshua Gindele, cello

                                Cellist Joshua Gindele, a founding member of the Miró Quartet, began his cello
                      studies at the age of 3 playing a viola his teacher had fitted with an endpin. As cellist
                      for the Miró, Joshua has won numerous international awards including an Avery Fisher
                      Career Grant, the Naumburg Chamber Music Award and the Cleveland Quartet Award and
                      has shared the stage with Pinchas Zuckerman, Joshua Bell, Midori, Matt Haimovitz, Eliot
                      Fisk, Leif Ove Andnes, and The Oak Ridge Boys. He continues to perform across four
                      continents and on some of the world’s most prestigious concert stages.
                                In 2006 Joshua co-founded This is an online
                      networking site where you can meet musicians, both professional and amateur,
                      discover new talent or get discovered, share music, post and get concert information,
    share opinions, post classified ads and much more. The site was sold to in
    August of 2009. In his free time he regularly hikes, climbs, runs, goes to the gym, plays tennis and golf,
    skis, cooks French food, and enjoys the occasional glass of wine.
             Joshua serves as Senior Lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin where he teaches a select
    number of private cello students and coaches chamber music.

                                                                      PROGRAMArthur Canter
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)                                               The Scherzo (Allegro), while generally livelier than
String Quartet in E-flat Major, op. 33, No. 2 (Hob III:38)          the typical minuet used in prior quartets by Haydn, follows a
“The Joke”                                                          similar structure with its three parts: a dance followed by a
         Haydn, a prolific composer, claimed that he was “never     relaxed graceful middle section (the “trio”) and a return to the
a quick writer,” and that he created his compositions with          character of the first part.
care and diligence. His chamber music output alone includes 83               The Largo sostenuto reveals Haydn at his most revered
string quartets, 67 string trios, 31 piano trios, and innumerable   style in allowing the four instruments to combine in different
other chamber pieces. In the string quartets he introduced a        ways and then to join together in their intricate but beautifully
number of the various elements of new styles of music that he       expressed conversations.
experimented with over his long career.                                      The Finale (Presto) is an expression of joy in the form
         The Op. 33 Quartets, composed in 1781 after a hiatus       of a sonata-rondo built around its opening melody. As the
of almost ten years in writing for this genre, enabled the          usual final statement of the main theme begins, the music
composer to introduce some of these new elements. During            is interrupted by a markedly slow interlude followed by the
this ten-year period Haydn had been immersed in composing           return of the melody. The melody continues but is suddenly
opera, managing the production of operas by other composers         interrupted again by a complete pause in the music. The music
as well as having been busily engaged in many administrative        continues but this time, after each phrase, there is a pause. This
duties for the Esterháza. In 1780 he visited Vienna where he        sequence is repeated and leads the listener into a prolonged
became personally acquainted with one of his admirers, the          moment of silence that ends abruptly with a sigh by the
young Mozart, and the two were able to exchange views on            instruments— thus the quartet’s nickname, “The Joke!”
composition. It is noted that by the beginning of 1781 Haydn
was involved in an affair with the young mezzo-soprano
Luigia Polzelli, wife of an aged Esterháza violinist. She sang in   Samuel Barber
Haydn operas and others that he produced. Thus, all things          (b. West Chester, Pa, 1910; d. New York, 1981)
considered, Haydn may well have been in a happy frame of mind       String Quartet, Op 11
for experimenting as he returned to the more subjective and                    Samuel Barber’s musical propensities and talent were
intimate forms of musical expression, the quartet. He even          recognized and nurtured by his family when he was yet a very
wrote letters to patrons inviting support for the quartets          young child. Encouraged and supported by his mother, his aunt
that were “written in a new and special way”, suggesting he         Louise Beatty Homer, the opera singer, and uncle Sidney Homer,
was looking ahead to his future. Whatever the reasons for           composer and teacher, Samuel Barber fulfilled his childhood
their inspiration, the Op. 33 Quartets received their first         ambition to become a composer. In 1924, at age 14, he entered
performance on Christmas Day 1781, at the Vienna apartment          the newly opened Curtis Institute as a special protégé of its
of The Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna, wife of the Grand Duke       founder and patron, Mary Louise Curtis Bok. There he studied
Paul of Russia. Haydn dedicated the quartets to the Grand Duke      composition under Rosario Scalero and Isabelle Venegerova,
which led to their being designated the “Russian” quartets.         and singing under Emilio de Gorgozra and quickly became
The Op. 33 Quartets are also known as Gli Scherzi as they were      regarded as a “wunderkind” by teachers and fellow students
the first in which the composer substituted scherzos for the        alike. In 1928 he met Gian-Carlo Menotti, a student from Italy
traditional minuet movements.                                       who had just entered Curtis to study under Scalero. In time,
         The E-flat major Quartet is in four movements. The         the association between the two blossomed into a lifelong
first movement (Allegro moderato, cantabile) is characterized       friendship. Barber was a quiet, reserved and introspective
by what has been called Haydn’s “technique of thematic              person, whereas Menotti was a vivacious, flamboyant
elaboration” where the subject matter for the whole movement        extrovert. Yet despite their markedly divergent personalities
evolves from snippets of measures. One motto works into             which seemed to complement each other, and their different
another, is explored and re-explored as the movement follows        cultural backgrounds, the two young men shared common
the sonata form.                                                    intellectual and aesthetic interests.
                                                                                                                     (continued on page 10)

               The recognition and accolades for Barber’s music          submerging its birth-quartet. In 1943, still troubled by the
     mounted successively during his long career, a career slowed        finale, Barber finally settled on a three-movement structure
     up by his service with the U.S. Army from 1942-1945. His            for the quartet and on May 28, 1943, the revised version was
     awards include the Pulitzer (1935), the American Academy’s          given its première by the Budapest Quartet at the Library of
     Prix de Rome (1936), the Music Critics Circle of New York Award     Congress. This is the version that is commonly performed.
     on two separate occasions, and the Gold Medal for Music ( the                The String Quartet, Op. 11 is a relatively short work.
     highest award of the American Academy and Institute of Arts         There is no pause between the last two movements. The
     and Letters). Barber’s completed compositions include: ballets,     first movement (Molto allegro e appassionato) opens with a
     opera, a wide variety of orchestral music, band music, solo         strong bold-sounding theme announced in unison by all four
     instrumental music (mostly piano), choral music, many songs         instruments. In sonata form it develops through a chorale-
     but only few chamber works.                                         like motif, a drawn-out lyrical episode and reminders of the
               One of these works, the String Quartet, Op, 11, on        opening theme. Then follows the Molto adagio, the center of
     today’s program, has an interesting history. In 1935-36 Barber      the work with slow, melodically spun out, repeated chords that
     was studying in Italy and Austria thanks to the Prix du Rome        build up to an emotional, “knock-out” pitch before receding
     scholarship referred to above. In a letter dated May 6, 1936,       peacefully. Suddenly, without pause, the contrasting, very brief
     to his friend Orlando Cole, cellist of the Curtis Quartet, he       Molto Allegro of the finale is brought to bear, as if it were an
     indicated he was starting on a quartet, implying it would be        appendage to the foregoing with its assertive restatement of
     ready by August. But Barber made little progress and in August      the quartet’s opening themes that ends the quartet.
     indicated it would not be ready for the Curtis Quartet for their
     tour. On September 19 he wrote to Cole: “I have just finished       Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
     the slow movement of my quartet today ‐it’s a knock-out! Now        String Quartet in C sharp minor, Op.131
     for a Finale.” This finale was completed in time for the work’s                Beethoven had the reputation of being a fighter, quick
     première scheduled to be performed on December 14, 1936 at          to antagonize and quick to be antagonized. He was driven to
     the Villa Aurelia in Rome. However, due to circumstances out of     express his individuality and be recognized while chafing at his
     Barber’s control and much to his distress, the performance was      dependence upon royal patronage. His symphonies, concerti,
     given by the Pro Arte Quartet instead of the Curtis Quartet.        and piano sonatas were monumental achievements. Many of
     Still dissatisfied with it, Barber withdrew the finale for a        them had been composed despite his increasing deafness which
     re-write and had the work’s first two movements performed           became complete at the peak of his career. Given his history of
     without the finale by the Curtis Quartet at the Curtis Institute    trials and tribulations in his personal relationships, his episodic
     at a private birthday concert on March 7, 1937. A re-worked         poor health, chronic alcohol abuse, suicidal impulses, financial
     finale was completed by April and the entire quartet was ready      setbacks, legal battles for the custody of his nephew, and the
     for the Gordon Quartet to perform at the Library of Congress.       privations created by the war surrounding Vienna, one would
     The standing ovation that greeted the playing of his “knock-        have to marvel at Beethoven’s capacity to survive as well as he
     out” slow movement (Molto adagio) apparently struck a spark in      did, let alone achieve greatness.
     Barber. He impulsively created a string orchestra arrangement                Beethoven turned to the string quartet in his late
     of that specific movement, titled it “The Adagio for Strings”       twenties. By this time the string quartet and other small
     and sent it off to Arturo Toscanini for appraisal. The upshot of    ensemble chamber music tended to be played by well-cultivated
     all this was that Toscanini, who was much taken with the piece,     amateurs in the salons of the aristocracy and upper middle
     gave the world the première performance of Samuel Barber’s          class of Western Europe. Professional musicians of the court
     Adagio for Strings in a radio broadcast on November 5, 1938,        orchestras and the composers themselves, most of whom
     the concert being held for a selected audience in the 8H Studio     played one or more stringed instruments, would perform on
     hall of the NBC Symphony Orchestra.              In subsequent      these occasions. In the Vienna of the 1780s and 1790s, quartet
     years the exceedingly popular Adagio for Strings assumed a          parties, attended chiefly by the musicians who performed
     life of its own in its various arrangements for string orchestra,   quartets themselves, were frequently held at the residences of
     full orchestra, choral, and instrumental ensembles, in essence      the well-known professional musicians as well as those of the

aristocratic “amateurs”. Beethoven, who played the viola earlier      for a long time. In the fifteen years after Beethoven’s death only
in the Bonn court orchestra, attended these sessions but did not      seven performances of any of them were given in Vienna. The
participate as a member of the string quartets. For one thing         late quartets have been much studied, analyzed and written
he had grown a bit rusty as a viola player, and for another, his      about. They are considered technically and musically difficult to
developing deafness probably interfered with his string playing.      play and interpret. For the listener they also provide difficulties
         It needs to be pointed out that as the 19th century          and may require repeated hearings.
opened there was an increasing interest in the sponsorship                     The C-sharp minor, Op. 131 quartet is aid to have been the
and attendance of music events by the banking families,               favorite of the group by Beethoven. Schubert is reported to have
manufacturers and professionals, spurred by the economic              become almost overwhelmed with excitement when he first heard
boom taking place in Vienna. The old aristocratic patronage was       the work, Wagner, judging from what he wrote about the work,
beginning to dissipate. Changes were taking place in professional     seems to have been similarly affected. The quartet is divided into
musicianship and there was an increase in the sophistication          seven sections that are played essentially without pause, making
of audiences. There were advances in string instruments (in           unusual demands upon the performers to preserve the integrity
particular the violin) and in the techniques of playing them. These   of the piece as a unified whole.
changes are reflected in the quartet writing by Beethoven from                 The first movement is a long, slow Adagio that is
his early to the late quartets, changes that were difficult for       essentially a fugue based on the somber melody introduced by
many of his established colleagues, members of the old order of       the first violin. The second movement, Allegro molto vivace, is a
music audiences, and music critics to accept.                         sprightly, warm-spirited fast moving piece that gives a sharp
         After he completed the Op.95, almost thirteen years          contrast to the profound but melancholy first movement. The
passed before Beethoven returned to the string quartet. From          third movement, Allegro moderato, functions as a brief narrative
the time he completed the “Archduke” Trio in 1811 until the early     or recitativo to the Andante section that follows. The fourth
1820s, the composer’s output had dropped. His health was poor,        movement, Andante ma non troppo e molto vivace, is a large one
his deafness became complete, personal difficulties mounted, a        that may be regarded as the central focus of the entire quartet.
number of his patrons had died or deserted him, and he got into       A theme, which Wagner called the “incarnation of innocence”,
conflicts with his publisher. Yet in 1822 he wrote an optimistic      is presented by a dialogue between the two violins. Then the
letter to his publisher reflecting upon his inability to put down     melody is put through six variations that defy simple description.
on paper what he knew he wanted to do and indicated that he           What appears to be a seventh variation “dissolves into a chain
felt he was “on the threshold of great things”. Shaking off his       of trills” (Michael Steinberg) and works into an elaborate coda.
torpor, Beethoven responded to this urge with an outburst of          The fifth movement, Presto, is opened by an abrupt growling
compositions including the Ninth Symphony, Missa Solemnis             sound by the cello and after a moment is followed by a very fast
and the late quartets before his death in1827. His newly-             scherzo involving all four players. The dance melody is woven
found energy was abetted by the return from Russia, in April          wildly through two rounds of scherzo and trio sections, giving a
1823, of his friend and colleague, violinist Ignaz Schuppanzigh,      whirlwind effect before the movement ends. The sixth movement,
who in 1805 had founded a brilliant string quartet that gave          an Adagio, is a short introspective piece with its mournful melody
public recitals in Vienna. Upon his return Schuppanzigh picked        introduced by the viola. The seventh movement, Allegro, is in the
up where he left off and resumed his concerts. The success            sonata form, opening with a fugal melody and taken through an
of the Schuppanzigh Quartet spurred the formation of other            extensive development that is full of contrasts. In summarizing
professional quartets in Vienna. This meant that Beethoven            this movement, Richard Wagner wrote: “This is the fury of the
could write quartets intended for professionals to perform in         world’s dance—fierce pleasure, agony, ecstasy of love, joy, anger,
public although their premières were likely to be held for private    passion and suffering.”
quartet parties as before.
         The five quartets (plus the Grosse Fuge) of Beethoven’s
late period, while now universally held in the highest esteem         Professor emeritus Arthur Canter is a retired clinical psychologist on the faculty of
                                                                      the UI Department of Psychiatry. An amateur music historian and longtime partici-
by chamber music lovers, were not well accepted at the time of        pant in the musical life of Iowa City, he has been penning program notes for Hancher
their first presentation. They were rarely performed in public        for 24 years.W

     Fabulous foursomes
     —The Miró Quartet is a set you should know
     By Sarah Gonsiorowski

     When thinking of famous foursomes, the earliest one that comes          for themselves. But these talents alone — though admirable —
     to mind are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and how the            do not seem to be the only elements working in the group’s favor.
     Book of Revelation told us in so many words that nothing really         Their unique repertoire ranges from compositions by Haydn and
     matters because, let’s face it — the future’s looking pretty grim.      Mozart to more contemporary work; however, regardless of era,
     Slightly less symbolic are what we commonly refer to as the four        each is played thoughtfully, emphasizing not only the quartet’s
     seasons and cardinal directions, and while neither are particu-         impeccable technique, but also its sincere attention to artistic
     larly responsible for predicting the length of our livelihood,          intention. And this matters because the members of the quar-
     they have introduced to us theories of change and direction. The        tet are not only serious technicians: They’re highly acclaimed
     Beatles taught us about rock-n-roll in the 1960s, and a few years       performers.
     later, Kiss showed America how to effectively frighten small                       Violinist Yamamoto’s solo debut came at the age of
     children. New Kids on the Block told us, “Hey, it’s okay to have a      eleven with the North Carolina Symphony, while Gindele was
     serious four-way crush,” even if it’s the first we’ve ever claimed      beginning cello studies at the age of three. Ching picked up the
     to have, while the Golden Girls gave new meaning to timeless            violin at three-and-a-half, and Largess entered into a serious re-
     friendship and what really happens in St. Olaf. We say, “There          lationship with his viola at age twelve. The quartet was founded
     are two sides to every story,” but there could easily be four, and      in 1995 at the Oberlin Conservatory, so without doing the math,
     had someone refrained from smudging out its sharp corners, that         it’s safe to say that each member has assured himself or herself
     circle would have stayed square for eternity.                           enough time for the rest of us to consider each a true master of
                These “fours” are famous. Iconic. Identifiable. And while    his or her craft. But of course to the quartet, this is no job: it is a
     they have certainly not dictated the way we live our lives, there       lifestyle, and a rather rewarding one, I’d imagine.
     is no doubting the reality of their influences. It is April 2011, and              But let’s not forget about the Apocalypse and my invis-
     as far as the Mayans are concerned, we have approximately one           ible list of memorable “fours,” what they have taught us, and
     year to add to the memorable list of “fours” before it’s all over.      why any of this is important since we’re all going to perish from
     And so my pick of the year remains as follows: The Miró Quartet.        some sort of asteroid impact anyways. How has the Miró Quartet
                Here’s what you ought to know about them:                    influenced our lives, and what have we learned from their tal-
     Musicians Sandy Yamamoto, Joshua Gindele, Daniel Ching, and             ents? And would the focus of this article have shifted drastically
     John Largess make up the fabulous four, their talents undeniable        had I not been reading Everything Matters by Ron Currie, Jr. at
     and emphasized by the many awards the musicians have earned             the same time I was the listening of the quartet’s musical

talents? (The answer to the last of the three seems fairly obvious     setting each work off to its best advantage through sometimes
at this point.)                                                        surprising contrasts with its neighbors.”
           The Miró Quartet has taught me that I really do like De-              It’s why, despite the onslaught of the Apocalypse, their
bussy but that my violin-playing days are over, and that my atten-     musical influences matter. Because in this lifetime, we’ve managed
tion span is about as good as my ability to read music. They have      to identify a memorable “four” that eloquently combines the musi-
reminded me that success in the arts still relies heavily on hard      cal talents of past and present. So that even when the final day of
work and dedication — that while our own personal talents may be       the Mayan calendar presents itself, we will think back to April 2011
remarkable, our ability to effectively compromise and collaborate      as we begin our ascension into heaven, and remember the beauti-
seamlessly will enhance whatever inherent abilities we already         ful sounds of this generation’s most remarkable string quartet. I
possess. It’s okay to like Dubstep, and ‘80s cover bands, but let’s    imagine them playing softy together, romanticizing to the tragedy
not forget the importance of the classics and how the replaying of     predicted by Revelation’s Four Horsemen, that no one but myself
their melodies still manages to color the redundancy of our con-       and Ron Currie, Jr. chose to consider. The melody will be sympa-
temporary, but sometimes mundane, lives. We will never abandon         thetic, but unpredictable — its tonalities fairly ominous. And its
our ability to romanticize about the things we love, those things      ending will showcase the true power of vibrato. As the melody’s
we can’t have, and a beautifully torturous combination of the two,     decrescendo finally ceases to silence, expectations amount to
but never will the temporary soundtrack to these inevitable feel-      nothingness (because after all, this is the end of the world). But
ings be the loud, abrasive pounding of drums. For the Sylvia Plaths    everybody knows — even in a spirit-like state — that every great
and Jane Austins of the twenty-first century, there will forever be    performance is deserving of an equally grandiose round of ap-
a string quartet accompanying the very real heartfelt rejection of     plause. And so we don’t just drift away unknowingly, as if nothing
our first true love, or the suspension of a Darcy/Bennett- like kiss   ever mattered because it does. Everything matters. So I predict we
that requires patience until the final minutes of the sixth VHS of     go out with a “bang!” But only after we’ve been serenaded by four
the original Pride and Prejudice. Without the combination of those     sets of strings.
string instruments, we might never feel anything.
           The quartet’s website states the following: “The Miró
endeavors to create each musical program as a chef presents a          Sarah Gonsiorowski is a UI student majoring in English and dance.
sumptuous multi-course meal: pairing the familiar with                 She writes about dancers and career transitioning (and more) for
the adventurous, the traditional with the eclectic, and above all      Hancher’s student blog, “Interns Unleashed.

     Finding “true ingenuity” in the music…
          and in the Hancher intern program
                By Andrew Deloucas

                       The Miró Quartet is a relatively         watching the Emerson Quartet, one is
                new string quartet, forming only 16 years       likely to see something traditional from
                ago, yet already the four musicians have        Mozart to Shostakovich; with the Kronos
                accomplished an impressive résumé.              Quartet, it’s probably going to be an
                Having been awarded numerous awards             immersion in world music from Ancient
                and grants and winning three separate           Grecian melodies to African folk music.
                chamber competitions, these still young         The Miró Quartet is always a consistent
                musicians have a long and fruitful career       surprise, from Glass to Haydn, from Bar-
                ahead.                                          ber to Beethoven.
                          I first heard of the quartet while              That is not to say the Miró
                looking up videos featuring the famous          Quartet’s choice in music is arbitrary.
                violinist Isaac Stern. In the video, Stern is   On the contrary, the group’s programs
                giving a master class (a sort of workshop       are thought up with precision on subtle
                for musicians) to the Miró Quartet. What        floating motifs that present themselves
                astounded me, besides the absolute lush         throughout centuries, countries, and
                sound that the quartet cast out from their      identities, showcasing the ingenuity of
                instruments, was the fact that I didn’t         classical music and thought. Tonight’s
                know what piece they were performing.           program includes Haydn’s String Quartet
                I scanned around, researched reviews,           No. 2 “The Joke,” Beethoven’s String Quar-
                looked through their website, and the           tet No. 14, and Barber’s String Quartet.
                longer I spent searching the internet on                  The histories of the composers
                the quartet, the more I realized that I         and the pieces, explained in Arthur Can-
                was no longer looking up what the Miró          ter’s program notes, hint at the overall
                Quartet had played in the short clip, but       emotions that will wash over the listener,
                what the Miró Quartet played during all         coating one in laughter, sorrow, and fury
                their performances.                             until by the end of the performance, the
                          To a certain point every brilliant    audience will stand up cheering, drained
                quartet is relatively similar: By no means      from head to toe.
                will one leave a performance dissatisfied,                The use of musical jokes is
                no matter how different the interpreta-         infamous, a tip of the hat from the com-
                tions are. The biggest variable between         poser to let the down-to-earth listeners
                these fantastic quartets are the pieces         know that they are acknowledged along
                each quartet is most likely to perform:         with the aristocratic elite. Haydn’s finale

teases the audience, never quite letting
the listener hear a finished thought. Just
as the music swells and moves, just as
things really begin to rock, there is a
                                                 emotional response, is that each of the
                                                 three has a piece of itself, a movement,
                                                 within its whole that has become some-
                                                 thing larger than itself. Unintentionally, it
                                                 seems, each movement has something that
                                                                                                 of the largest success stories following a
                                                                                                 tragedy that very well could have been the
                                                                                                 end all of a brilliant program.
                                                                                                           The internship program hasn’t

pause. Over and over, these pauses become                                                        helped only Hancher; it has already helped
more infuriating, absurd, and finally            I always call true ingenuity.                   me find a place in the University of Iowa.
mind-numbingly hilarious at the end, when                  Haydn understood the brilliance       As of this publication, I stand as the
nobody except the players knows when it          in his trickery, toying with the audi-          youngest intern that Hancher has ac-
will end.                    Barber’s string     ence’s expectations in a finale has been        cepted, and I already see myself needing
quartet, although remarkably fascinating in      copied relentlessly ever since. Barber’s        to be a part of Hancher for the rest of my
its robust voicing, its engaging harmonies,      adagio has been since transposed for            college career. Not only does Hancher give
and pulling melodies, has its real beauty        nearly every combination of instru-             so many artists an opportunity to perform
in the middle movement, the Molto Adagio.        mentation, including DJ Tiesto’s techno         in Iowa City, it also gives Iowa City a real
What is surprising about the movement            remix. Beethoven’s influence on the             sense of art from the rest of the world,
isn’t its illustriousness, but its utter magic   Romantic Movement in classical music            creating a real exchange.
in creating such a heavy atmosphere of           would never be what it is without his                     Granted, I’m sure Haydn, Barber,
utter dread and despair that even the hap-       manic writing.                                  and Beethoven didn’t have Hancher in mind
piest audiences’ minds slip into memories                  Why is any of this important          while they were writing these pieces. The

and recollections of hurt. A fallen friend, a    to mention? Because music has become            Miró Quartet may not have been thinking
relative that has passed away… even those        a quintessential aspect of life that every-     of Hancher while choosing these pieces,
fortunate enough to have no real soul-lined      one absorbs. It influences our thoughts,        but I know I will be thinking of Hancher
fractures in their hearts emphatically pour      our memories, our feelings, our person-         as they are performed, and as I listen
their love to those who the music speaks         alities, our interactions with reality. The     tonight, I will be thinking of how there are
to.                                              reason why I mention that all of these          still small parts of the world that really
           Finally, in the innately complex      pieces have a part that is larger than the      have become larger than themselves,
string quartet no. 14 by Beethoven comes         whole is because I wholly believe that          encompassing inspiration, hope, and ex-
perhaps the most emotionally complex             there are aspects of everyone and every-        citement in a world where there isn’t too
of all three pieces. Beethoven, a master         thing that are larger than themselves.          much left.
of distorting rage into warmth in a split                  Take for example, the Hancher
second, plays with musical ingenuity with        internship program. The internship pro-         Andrew Alberto Nicolas Deloucas is UI student
such fervor that he creates a movement so        gram has developed so many new ways             and a member of the Hancher internship team
immensely complicated in its variations          to reach out to the community through           and was recently accepted into the innovative
that it has become one of the most studied       Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and           EyeJAZZ program, which is seeking new ways
movements in string quartet history.             Tumblr accounts. By reaching out to             to celebrate and promote jazz.
           The connection between these          students, faculty, and Iowa City natives,
pieces, besides their guarantee to cause an      the internship program has become one


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